SEC to let US companies switch to IFRS

Christopher Cox, SEC chairman

Christopher Cox, SEC chairman

The world’s largest capital market is just weeks away from an announcement
that US companies will be given an option to use international accounting

Sources familiar with US regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission,
confirmed that chairman Christopher Cox was preparing to announce a timetable
which would give US companies a roadmap to the final switch to IFRS.

KPMG US audit partner Paul Munter said that while timing is still uncertain,
the expectation in the US was that the SEC would make a rules proposal ‘some
time in June’. He said: ‘We expect… a roadmap of a series of actions and steps
that need to be taken, some of which are structural, in terms of the structure
and funding of the International Accounting Standards Board.’

The US will be one of the last large capital market regions to switch,
following adoption of IFRS in Canada, Japan, India, and Europe.

US firms confirmed that their clients had expressed interest in training and
have started to hold public meetings to discuss the switch to IFRS, how this
would be done and the timeframes involved.

Munter said interest from US companies came from those with subsidiaries in
other countries who had switched to IFRS, multi-nationals keen on IFRS to
achieve greater comparability with their counterparts in other regions, and US
companies who were subsid-iaries of parent companies who already reported in
IFRS abroad.

‘There are some who have begun a conversion project and initiated the process
so that they’re positioned to move to IFRS as quickly as they are permitted to,’
said Munter.

The SEC said no decision has been made as yet.

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